Get Optimistic with Grand Opening of the Manetti Shrem Museum

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The new Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art at UC Davis. (Photo by Iwaan Baan)

Does today find you nervous? Uncertain about the future? In addition to these 15 ways to avoid stress on election day, you can focus on a sure thing that is also a good thing: the grand opening of UC Davis’ brand new Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art.

On Nov. 13, the opening of this massive institution, with a 50,000 square-foot “canopy” of perforated aluminum visible from I-80, cements the university’s long reputation as an artistic hub. The inaugural exhibition honors that history with Out Our Way, a group show of 12 artists hired by Richard L. Nelson during his tenure as founding chair of the UC Davis art department (1952-70). The names are a bit of a Northern California art scene dream team, including Wayne Thiebaud, Robert Arneson, William T. Wiley, Roy De Forest, Manuel Neri, Ruth Horsting and Jane Garritson.

Exhibition announcement for 'Out Our Way.'
Exhibition announcement for 'Out Our Way.' (Courtesy of the Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art)

On the contemporary side, San Francisco-based artist Chris Sollars contributes a video installation to the new museum, titled Hoof & Foot: A Field Study, in honor of the university’s hoofed residents (subjects of the agricultural and veterinary programs) -- and the humans who study them. Mexico City-based artist Pia Camil’s A Pot for a Latch invites members of the public to bring their own objects to the museum to exchange for items in her wire grid installation.

Foam links for Lisa Rybovich Crallé's 'Chain Reaction,' 2016.
Foam links for Lisa Rybovich Crallé's 'Chain Reaction,' 2016. (Courtesy of the artist)

Don’t let these exhibitions’ long runs lull you into the delaying your visit to the Manetti Shrem (each is on view well into 2017). The Nov. 13 grand opening includes a street fair with live music, food trucks and entertainment organized in partnership with Sacramento’s Verge Center for the Arts. Especially not to miss: the museum’s “ribbon-cutting” ceremony at noon. UC Davis community members will ceremoniously untie a 1,500-foot-long chain of foam links made by local artist (and UC Davis alum) Lisa Rybovich Crallé. Each vibrant, squishy link was hand-painted by the artist and volunteers during public workshops over the past months -- a true visual representation of the community behind this museum's conception and realization.

It's been a big year for institutional (re)openings, but that doesn't make them any less exciting.